At SpringBoard Recovery, we pride ourselves in having a team that is truly passionate about helping others. In addition to the academic training needed to succeed in treating drug and alcohol addiction, we possess first-hand knowledge of recovery from substance abuse.
Our dedicated team is committed to helping you or your loved one navigate the road to life-long recovery. So we thought that you’d like to meet them! Beginning our series “Getting To Know Our SpringBoard Recovery Staff,” we start with Laura Nuss, Executive Leadership.
An Interview with Laura Nuss, Executive Leadership
Getting To Know Our SpringBoard Recovery Staff
“I believe that through evidence-based treatment we can help provide our clients with the platform to transform their lives from a seemingly helpless state to one that is fulfilling, productive, and joyful.” – Laura Nuss, SpringBoard Recovery
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at SpringBoard Recovery?
I am responsible for overseeing our operations and the financial side of the recovery center, and to ensure all our compliance responsibilities are being met.
What would you say that you bring to the table here?
Compassion, and a wish to lead from a place of love.
How long have you been working in the addiction recovery industry, and what would you consider to be your top three accomplishments while working this field?
I have been working in the field of addiction since 2012. In terms of accomplishments, I would say, since establishing SpringBoard Recovery here in Scottsdale, these would be keeping a family-like atmosphere, keeping client care our absolute first priority, and maintaining consistent, continual growth.
As you are a founding member of SpringBoard Recovery, what was the motivation for starting the recovery center?
Together, the founders wanted to provide exceptional, quality treatment within an industry that we felt was lacking high standard options, and to help build a community for both our clients and employees. Personally, I felt a strong desire to help people change their lives as I was able to.
What makes Springboard Recovery different from any other nearby facilities, traditional or otherwise?
Our recovery center has an exceptional “family feel” to it from the moment you walk in the entrance, and that is experienced by both our new clients and our visitors, and often commented on.
What is the treatment philosophy at Springboard Recovery?
We firmly believe in the holistic approach to addiction recovery – to treat not only the physical symptoms that clients present with, but also to treat both the mental and spiritual aspects of the person.
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SpringBoard Recovery’s Holistic Approach to Addiction Recovery
When it comes to treating clients for their substance addiction, SpringBoard Recovery uses the holistic approach, meaning we do not just treat the physical symptoms of addiction, but the entire person – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. All of these personal aspects are fully interconnected in the process of healing you; for example, your physical well-being will have a bearing on your emotional health, and so on.
By treating the entire person, we ensure that you are not only able to maintain your newfound sobriety, but also to enjoy it and live your new sober life to the full.
Many different reasons potentially exist for making people start using substances. Some clients are suffering with a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression or PTSD, and the use of substances is a way of self-medicating against their symptoms. Other clients have become addicted to their pain-killing medication, and others have abused substances as a way of coping with underlying trauma.
The holistic approach ensures that clients understand the very reason for their own addiction. Our treatment team can then provide the necessary knowledge, resources and coping skills that the client will need to maintain their sobriety, plus offering new ways to look at and experience life, stress management and relaxation techniques, and mental and emotional health education.
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Name a challenge you faced while developing the recovery center.
Simply, the negative industry press.
How did this challenge or discovery shape what the center is today?
Always continue to do what you know and believe is the right thing to do.
If possible, please briefly describe your own journey to recovery; for example, what was your drug of choice, and what motivated you to get help?
I started using Oxycontin when I was 18, and quickly moved to heroin. I lacked coping skills and really didn’t know how “to do” life. I hit rock bottom after a series of events that left me feeling totally empty and hopeless. After a couple of failed attempts at recovery, I came out to Arizona and went into treatment. There, I dealt with some underlying trauma, I had real accountability for probably the first time, and I began the long process of learning to love myself.
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Women & Addiction: A Different Experience
Addiction is the same for everyone, whatever the substance or the demographic – it doesn’t even matter whether you’re a man or a woman, right – it’s all the same?
Wrong – especially when it comes to addicted women.
Women, now the fastest rising demographic of U.S. substance addicts, experience a very different addiction to men. The primary differences are:
- Women experience greater stigma and isolation because of their addiction, particularly from family and friends, than men do. Thought of as ever-caring mothers, daughters, wives and nurturers, today’s social attitudes, flavored with a sense of hypocrisy, continue to demand different and higher expectations for female behavior.
- Women face greater risks to their health than men, such as becoming addicted much quicker, suffering certain health problems quicker, and then suffering permanent damage from those problems quicker, and are far more likely to be the victims of sexual assault.
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In your opinion, what’s the most important aspect to achieving addiction recovery?
For myself, the most important thing was learning how to love myself, and to learn new ways of coping. It was also important for me to build a life that was worth living for – one that I didn’t want to lose.
Tackling addiction is possibly only one component of recovery. How important is it to treat any co-occurring disorders that may exist?
It’s incredibly important. If you don’t deal with the stuff that led you to want to escape into substance abuse, then you will undoubtedly continue to have a strong desire to run away from those feelings.
Our country is currently under a lot of stress right now – from the coronavirus pandemic, to the unforeseen economic crisis that has come with it. How does all this affect addiction rates – firstly, in general, secondly, here in Arizona, and, lasty, at a local level?
People are afraid, and some people that are dealing with these kinds of uncomfortable feelings want to escape. Unfortunately, the short-term escape in the long-run is not a healthy coping mechanism, and continues to lead many down a dark path of addiction.
Alcohol sales have skyrocketed during COVID-19. I believe the relaxed alcohol laws will have a significant negative impact. Being that Arizona already has a large “recovery community,” I would imagine that many people unable to cope have returned to their old habits of using drugs and alcohol to escape during these hard times, and are now in need of return to addiction treatment. I would certainly say exactly the same thing for Phoenix, in particular.
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Addiction & COVID-19 in Arizona
Not only have those in addiction recovery (especially if they are only a short way into that journey) been working hard, and possibly struggling, with their own health issues, the arrival of the coronavirus into Arizonan neighborhoods has presented an additional dimension to their recovery process.
State officials say that Arizona is now averaging about 1,800 positive COVID-19 cases a day, with 36% of all of the cases reported in just the last week. Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Arizona Department of Health Services, commented, “Previously, we were seeing 200 cases per day, so that is a dramatic increase that is sustaining itself.”
Phoenix is actually worse when looked at in isolation (no pun intended) – the city had the highest number of new cases among the 10 metropolitan regions where infection rates had spiked the most. Phoenix had recorded 13,169 new cases over the previous week, meaning a huge increase of nearly 150% over the week before that.
Recent pandemic research studies have highlighted a considerable decline in the mental health of some demographics, and obviously that is having a knock-on effect for substance abusers and addicts in those groups.
You can read our statement on how we have implemented the necessary CDC recommendations, and more, to ensure the health and wellbeing of our valued clients, their families, and our own staff here.
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What would you personally say to someone with a drug or alcohol problem (or has a loved one with a problem) who is considering getting help?
I would say that there is hope – real hope. You don’t have to live in this cycle forever. There is a way out, so do it now!
When you tell someone you just met that you are in the addiction treatment industry, what are the three most common questions you get asked?
“How’d you get started with that?,” “Is that, like, in a real rehab?,” and questions about the actual treatment program that we run here.
How do you respond to people who say that “treatment doesn’t work”?
I ask them to challenge what their definition of success is, and I advise them to look at both anecdotal and statistic-based evidence, as it will alter their opinion.
What do you do to unwind and relax after a hard day at the office, and did any of this stem from your own addiction recovery, eg. yoga, mindfulness, etc?
Nutrition and fitness are really important to me. I believe that if we treat our bodies well we are much better set up for success. I also like to read and spend time with my friends. Striking the best work/life balance is really important to me too.
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The Importance of Nutrition & Fitness in Recovery
The holistic approach to addiction treatment and recovery places great emphasis on both nutrition and fitness – the healthier your body, the healthier your mind, spirit, and emotional wellbeing will be. By ensuring you are eating an excellent balanced diet and exercising, especially aerobically, you have a far greater probability of achieving but, more importantly, maintaining sobriety.
Here are the perfect things to eat yourself well during addiction recovery:
- High Protein Foods: Substance abuse directly affects your brain’s natural production of, and response to, the neurotransmitter dopamine. High protein foods contain important amino acids vital for that production. Additionally, protein is good for building up your muscle mass, as you start exercising regularly.
- Omega-3 Rich Foods: Foods like salmon, avocado and eggs are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for healthy body and brain function. This fatty acid (don’t be put off by the name) is great for mental health, improving conditions like depression, anxiety and ADHD.
- Vitamin C Rich Foods: Vital for a healthy immune system, vitamin C is also good for heart and eye health, and may help protect us from future conditions like cancer and stroke.
- Antioxidant Rich Foods: Free radicals are molecules with unattached electrons, and are responsible for dangerous cell and DNA damage within our bodies. Antioxidants, found in “super foods” such as blueberries and acai berries, can neutralize these free radicals. Lastly, avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars, as these will actually promote free radical growth.
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Lastly, what’s it like working at SpringBoard Recovery?
It’s positive, fun, and definitely nurturing.
– With thanks to Laura Nuss for her interesting and honest responses to our questions.